Fact Checked

How do I Choose the Best Defense Lawyer?

Donn Saylor
Donn Saylor

When choosing the best defense lawyer to represent yourself or a loved one, it is important to weigh all your options, find a legal defense that specializes in the type of counsel your case requires, and choose a lawyer with a combination of experience, skill, and personal qualities that you find admirable. Being a defendant in a court case is no easy undertaking, and you want someone on your side who understands where you're coming from and is willing to fight for you. With a little thought and sensible planning, you can locate the best defense lawyer for your case.

The first step to choosing a defense lawyer is considering the precise circumstances and needs of your case. If you are certain your case will be going to trial, you will want to find a defense trial lawyer who has experience in trial law. If you're case involves a minor infraction or will be unlikely to go to trial, you may be more comfortable with a less-experienced litigator who is willing to go the extra mile for you so he or she can establish his or her reputation in the field. Generally, a less-experienced lawyer will also cost you significantly less money than a veteran of the trade.

Businessman with a briefcase
Businessman with a briefcase

Secondly, you should talk to a selection of potential lawyers and give yourself some options. In many instances, a public defender may be the best — or only — alternative; these individuals are experts in their field and practice trial law day in and day out. But if you choose to hire your own attorney, interview several and deduce which one can help you the most. A defense lawyer will sometimes specialize in a certain type of law — driving while intoxicated, rape, murder, etc. — and may be better suited to handle the particular needs of your case. Any lawyer you choose should be fully accredited and legally allowed to practice law in your region.

A third factor to bear in mind when choosing a defense lawyer entails considering the personal and professional traits that are important to you. Reflect on your own understanding of the law and decide what type of individual will best help you navigate these waters. Another important consideration is selecting someone who possesses qualities you can respect. You may find an assertive civil litigator with a team of crackerjack helpers is the only way you can take on the plaintiff in your case. Or you may decide that credentials mean far less to you than determination, and, based on this, choose an attorney who may not have an abundance of experience but plenty of ambition and professionalism.

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Discussion Comments


@Terrificli -- That is true, but some of the best criminal defense attorneys I have ever met never spent a day as a prosecutor or a public defender. They just had a particular knack for criminal law and have developed their skills over the years.

Don't count those guys out. Go ahead and look at backgrounds, but investigating the win-loss records of some criminal defense attorneys isn't a bad idea.


A great way to pick a good defense lawyer is to look at the backgrounds of several attorneys in your area. A lot of prosecuting attorneys and public defenders go on to become criminal defense attorneys in private practice.

Those folks have a ton of experience in criminal law. Going with one of those folks will often be a good choice.

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